Bedford Blues opened their British and Irish Cup campaign with an impressive 35-6 win over the Scarlets Select at Carmarthen Park on Sunday afternoon.
Tries came courtesy of James Pritchard, Sam James, Michael Le Bourgeois and Steffan Jones, along with extra points coming from the boot of Myles Dorrian, Jones and Jake Sharp to secure the bonus point win for the Blues in West Wales.
Bedford took control of possession in the opening five minutes and they went straight through the attacking waves but they failed to break down the Scarlets’ strong defence.
It was end to end stuff, with both teams displaying some great phases of rugby in the early stages, but it was the hosts who received the first opportunity to get some points on the board.
Referee Frank Murphy signalled for a penalty after the Blues were adjudged to have collapsed the scrum, but Scarlets fly-half Lewis saw his kick sail just wide.
Three minutes later, Lewis had another opportunity to send the ball over the posts and he made no mistake putting his team 3-0 up after 22 minutes.
Bedford battled back with their own attack through Mike Howard, but play was brought back after the penalty advantage in favour of the Scarlets and Lewis sent his kick over to double their lead to 6-0.
Bedford battled on though and they were rewarded with a try after some fine attacking work from tight-head Biyi Ayo in the breakdown.
He won possession before sending the ball out to the right wing where Pritchard glided over the line. Dorrian failed to kick the extras, sending the hosts in to the half-time break with a 6-5 lead.
The Blues came out in the second half with all guns blazing and they got their first points on the board after 49 minutes through a Dorrian penalty.
Two minutes later Bedford took the lead through a 55-metre penalty from Jones which put the Blues 11-6 in front.
Bedford were awarded another penalty just five minutes later, which Jones converted with ease as the Blues were looking dominant.
Almost immediately after the restart Sam James latched on to an over-thrown line out from his opposite number, allowing the hooker to cross the line before Dorrian converted to make it 21-6.
Bedford’s third try was on the horizon and the introduction of Jordan Burns and Sharp as substitutes saw the two link up well before sending Le Bourgeois over the line with Sharp converting.
With only 10 minutes left, Bedford went in search of the bonus point and they secured it through Jones. Burns and Sharp linked up well during a Blues attacking wave before the fly-half sent a no look pass to captain Nick Fenton-Wells who charged on before sending the ball out wide to Jones who grounded before Sharp wrapped the game up with the conversion.
Another magnificent performance from Rayer’s men who look forward to welcoming Ulster to Goldington Road in their next British and Irish Cup match on Saturday afternoon.